The public prosecutor of Lucca, Letizia Cai, has called for a two and a half year prison sentence for ex-world champion, Mario Cipollini, arguing that the former cyclist is guilty of “stalking his ex-wife, violence and threats to his ex-wife’s partner.”
The court case first began in March 2019 when the initial allegations of abuse against his ex-wife were made.
Sabrina Landucci was married to Cipollini from 1993-2005. On one occasion according to La Gazzetta di Lucca, Landucci was assaulted by Cipollini as the “former world champion grabbed his wife by her neck and threw her against the wall”.
The charges against Cipollini include mistreatment of the family, threats against Landucci and an alleged assault.
La Gazzetta di Lucca also reported one incident where Cipollini threatened to make Landucci’s new partner and ex-footballer Silvio Giusti "disappear" after confronting him in a gym. “You are nobody and you are worth nothing, while I am Cipollini. If one day I wake up and I want to make you disappear, no one can find you anymore, I have friends everywhere,” the Italian reportedly said.
Throughout the case, the court heard of numerous incidents in which Cipollini “performed a series of acts damaging the physical and mental integrity” of Landucci, involving punches, slaps, kicks, injuries and death threats.”
On one occasion he allegedly assaulted Landucci at her work place. On January 6 2017, “in front of colleagues and clients”, Cipollini “grabbed my neck and then banged my head against the wall. I had injuries, so I had to go to the emergency room.” she told the court.
Sabrina Landucci’s mother Giovanna Di Simo has also previously accused the former champion of being an “aggressive person”. In 2020, the then 79 year old accused Ciipollini in court of chasing her daughter with a gun "he kept a gun under his pillow. I saw him with my own eyes grabbing Sabrina by the neck at the bottom of the stairs of my house and then chasing her in the garden, wearing a brace on his knee after a skiing accident, armed with a revolver." she said.
The 55 year old Italian had a glittering career, winning 12 individual stages at the Tour de France, 42 at the Giro d’Italia and a World Championships title. He has since founded Cipollini bikes, which were used by the Italian team, ISD-Neri.
Sabrina Landucci’s lawyer is also seeking damages of €80,000 for her client in addition to a prison sentence.
Sabrina Landucci also alleges that the numerous threats included on one occasion him threatening to kill her saying “I’ll kill you. You’ll hear the sound of the bones when they break.” Other occasions included him threatening to “tear [Landucci’s] brains out with his hands”.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and Cipollini’s ill-health - in late 2019, he underwent a five-hour heart operation. The trial has faced several delays.
During the delays, further evidence has come to light, mostly from Landucci’s mother. As well as the incident involving a gun, Giovanna Di Simo has recounted a series of threatening phone calls and that Landucci feared reporting him due to the impact on his career.
There were “phone calls with screams" and "text messages sent a hundred times a day". "Possessive and jealous. First he cried and asked for forgiveness, asking her to go home and then he started insulting her and threatening her and all her relatives saying he was ready to make a massacre.” she said.
Di Simo claimed that on one occasion Cipollini’s maid had phoned her fearing that he would kill Landucci, “Once their maid telephoned me telling me to run to Cipollini's house because she feared he would kill Sabrina. I rushed over there and noticed red marks on her neck as if the then husband had grabbed her by the throat. She cried and told me that he had also dragged her by the hair. I invited her to go to the emergency room, but she was afraid both for us family members and for not wanting to ruin Cipollini's career," she added.
Mario Cipollini has denied all allegations including threatening Landucci with a weapon. The verdict is expected to be delivered on 13 July.
There have been other examples of controversy involving Cipollini since his retirement. In 2016 he faced criticism for riding one of his own brand bikes without a helmet. His response was a picture of him on social media riding a turbo trainer naked except for a helmet.
In February 2020, Cipollini was in court accused of hitting his sister due to a disagreement over the custody of his pet chihuahua. The charges were later dropped.
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